Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

I’ve studied Larsen C and its giant iceberg for years – it’s not a simple story of climate change [link

Southern Ocean Decadal Variability and Predictability [link]

Record cold wave in Greenland [link]

New book out on mechanisms of extremes.  [link]

NASA Detects Drop in Global Fires [link] Fewer and less severe with 24% decline in land lost.

NASA-MIT study evaluates efficiency of oceans as heat sink, atmospheric gases sponge [link]

New meteorological case study of Aug 2016’s long-lived great Arctic cyclone -> affected sea ice loss too [link]

Latest in a string of papers suggesting Eurasian winter cooling is caused by internal climate variability and not by Arctic sea ice loss [link]

Investigating the impact of CO2 on the low frequency variability of the AMOC in HadCM3 [link]

Tree rings, ice cores, corals etc combine in major new timeline – 2,000 years of global temp history [link]

Steve McIntyre’s critique [link]

Skillful seasonal predictions of winter precipitation over southern China  [link

Here’s how scientists use water vapor to unlock climate mysteries [link]

Remember the North Pole winter thaw? New study finds rising trend in warming spikes in winter. [link

There is virtually zero evidence that permafrost will catastrophically melt in our lifetimes. [link]

Weather responsiveness of crop yields: US evidence and agricultural impacts of climate change [link]

Study shows China’s severe weather patterns changing drastically since 1960 [link  ALL STORMS DOWN 50%.

New paper connects volcanic cooling to crop failures, impoverishment, and hunger in 17th-century Finland [link

Scientists Have Discovered a 600-Mile Coral Reef [link

3 New Papers: Greenland 3-5°C Warmer With 40 Kilometers Less Ice Area 4,000-10,000 Years Ago [link]  

A collection of sea-level rise research published  [link]  

Measuring forecast performance in the presence of observation error [link]

Black Death 1347-1351 May Have Had A Surprising Effect On The Environment  [link]

Climate scientists predict wet future for California [link]

Surface mass balance of ice sheets simulated by positive-degree-day method & energy balance approach [link]  

2 Recent Papers Show Sea Level Variability Have Little To Do With CO2 [link]

Why Are Arctic Linkages to Extreme Weather Still Up in the Air? [link]

Ozone depletion following future volcanic eruptions [link]

River networks dampen long-term hydrological signals of climate change [link]

Greening of the Sahara suppressed ENSO activity during the mid-Holocene’ [link]

Study examines increasing likelihood of extreme sea levels [link

More evidence for feedbacks between solid earth and surface carbon cycles and climate, mediated by volcanism [link]

The changing ocean carbon cycle [link]

Contrary temperature trend stalls upgraded climate model’s debut [link]

. suggests how we might reconcile insights into decadal climate variability coming from proxies and models: [link]

How are warm and cool years in the California Current related to ENSO? [link]

The -Subarctic sea ice system is entering a seasonal regime: Implications for future Arctic amplification [link]

Air-ice-ocean feedback mechanisms and ice oscillation on milllennial time scales [link]

Paleo study: No conclusive support for current Arctic warming > than peak of medieval climate anomaly [link]

Arctic sea ice response to the eruptions of Agung, El Chichón and Pinatubo [link]

91 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. Pingback: Week in review – science edition – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. Judith,

    Why are impacts of climate change being ignored?

    • Peter, can you show me even one paper that says, “Here is proof of climate change?” Seems to me that the papers being written say, “We think’, or “We feel” that man-kind has affected the climate of this planet, but those are all opinions of the writers, based on what they call “verifiable evidence”. Evidence is used in a trial to prove guilt or innocence, it’s up to the jury to decided guilt. Are you convicting man-kind without a proper trial?

      • No informed person doesn’t recognise that the climate is changing. It always has and always will.

      • David Wojick

        Russel: Seasons are not what is meant by climate change in the climate change debate. Peter: We do not know that climate is changing, as opposed to merely oscillating. In a sine wave the value is constantly changing but the wave does not change. Thus it is with climate, which is an oscillator on many scales of interest. These oscillators may not be changing. It is very hard to tell, given so little reliable data.

  3. “Investigating the impact of CO2 on the low frequency variability of the AMOC in HadCM3”

    With rising CO2 modeled to increase positive NAO/AO, it should in theory inhibit the warm phase of the AMO and exacerbate the cold phase. I would argue that the AMO is strongly solar driven, and that alone determines the frequency.

    Maybe more important is the variability of the AMO as a CO2 sink.
    Atlantic Ocean CO2 uptake reduced by weakening of the meridional overturning circulation:

  4. Climate scientists predict wet future for California:
    “Allen said. “Ultimately, what I am arguing is El Nino-like years are going to become more the norm in California.”

    Well here is what the circulation models indicate, rising greenhouse gases increase positive NAO/AO, which is naturally associated with faster trade winds.

  5. “Contrary temperature trend stalls upgraded climate model’s debut”
    with the unavoidable conclusion the empirically observed data may be wrong.

    Maybe the red/blue team contest idea should be renamed red/blue pill contest.

    • Steven Mosher


      you always believe observation….too funny.

      i thought skeptics rejected the temperature record.

      here is what science does.

      “It is yet to be determined whether a fix to the aerosol emission data sets will remedy the problem…or whether the cloud-aerosol mechanisms in the model could be too strong,” Neale said. Still, Lamarque added, working through such mismatches is a normal part of how climate models evolve: “We do simulations, and when some things look bad, we’re like ‘okay, for the next version, let’s fix it,’” he said.

      • David Wojick

        Changing the data to fit the model is not science.

      • Steven Mosher:
        “The measurements of emissions levels in the data sets may be too high, he speculated.”
        Should one’s trust in a theory be informed by the data of the state variables of the system in question or ones trust in the data by a theory that isn’t supported by any real data but by another highly speculative theory?

      • “i thought skeptics rejected the temperature record”

        You thought wrong when you over generalized.

      • catweazle666

        “i thought skeptics rejected the temperature record.”

        No Mosher, not all of therm.

        Just the ones you and your fellow data corrupters have Mannipulated to match the results churned out by your computer games climate models.

      • David Wojick

        Someone’s estimate of what the global average temperature was many years ago is not a record. There is no temperature record except at individual stations and that is just a record of readings. The estimated past global surface temperatures are the output of a modern (and questionable) set of statistical models. These outputs are not records of historic temperatures, far from it. Calling them records is misleading at best.

      • “We do simulations, and when some things look bad, we’re like ‘okay, for the next version, let’s fix it,’” he said.

        That looks pretty much like curve fitting to me.

      • The interesting question is whether those who refer to the 100+ year “record” of global temperatures do so from ignorance or deception?

      • I have trouble with the concept of politicians and environmental groups deciding to spend my money based primarily on the results of computer games and “fixed” data sets.

        I’m still waiting for anyone here stepping up to the plate and betting their next mortgage payment on winner of Super bowl 2021 based on the results of running Madden NFL Live. Hell, you won’t do it for 2018.

      • “That looks pretty much like curve fitting to me.”
        By making adjustments to a simulation model, one can learn how to copy the real thing.

      • Science doesn’t say anything, dummy!

  6. One of the most interesting things re a break off of this size, missed by all the coomentators, is the degree of ocean cooling this ice berg will create as it melts.

    ANy comments Judith or others?
    As it moves north it will lower the temperature of the sea water on the surface over a very large area hopefully leading to quite a large drop in SST locally and over a larger overall are.
    Expect a good drop in botH SH tperatures and sea surface temperatures from this though of a short 6 month duration, should lead to quite a colder 2017 than if it stayed in place.

    • I’m not worried about an iceberg cooling the SH. It’s not going to move fast enough to get very far north where it could affect surface water temperatures. But it might be more interesting to track the change in salinity. This berg is twice the volume of Lake Erie, about 230+ cubic miles of fresh water which has the potential to change ocean chemistry and that might have a measurable effect on plankton and algae populations.
      Nothing to worry about because I don’t eat plankton or algae.

      • maksimovich1

        It will have a measurable effect on phytoplankton ,being a significant food source.


      • Good to hear. I have seen similar news about an increase of phytoplankton and algae populations in the arctic too. I still wonder why the global atmospheric oxygen levels are declining. It’s seems counter intuitive. More biomass should generate more oxygen but I keep seeing reports of more dead zones where fish are dying from asphyxiation. Of course nobody knows if theses dead zones were more prevalent in the past so the best we can hope for is we establish a baseline from where we can measure future trends.

      • What, it must be halfway to Sydney by now? Brr the down under.

      • JCH it is very cold down south in Australia. So cold the BOM sliced 0.4 of a degree off a recording at I think Goulburn Airport.
        Interesting in many ways.
        -10.4 adjusted up to 10.0 as BOM arbitrarily decided levels unde – 10 C were too low to be real.
        I wonder what Zeke and Mosher would say. After all they claim the records they use ( same system) are not manipulated.
        Seems if people at BOM can give directives, make adjustments like this the whole system is even more dodgy than we suspect.
        Second hottest or 5th hottest year?

      • -10.4 adjusted up to -10.0 I meant.
        May also have been excluded from the record sltogether by BOM as they had left a blank on the days actual record.
        In retrospect almost better if people had not complained as at least a – 10.0 would have been officially recorded.
        Where are you Zeke?
        Get onto them please.

      • I just read that the iceberg, if it’s going anywhere at all, will most likely be heading for the Falklands.

      • 230 cubic miles twice volume of Lake Erie.

        Being the shallowest of the Great Lakes. that’s not much. The oceans in totality have 321,000,000 cubic miles. If JCH is correct that it’s going to the Falklands, the Atlantic will barely notice with 77,000,000 cubic miles.

        A previous large iceberg took several years to melt.

  7. McIntyre’s critique of Pages2k 2017 is devastating. Talk about shenanigans. Just wow at the self evident atbitrary cherry picking.

    • I found it more humorous than devastating

    • What would his version change about the results? I don’t think he says, and in the end that is the bottom line about whether this is a substantial complaint or just nitpicking around the edges. Also what happened to the MWP? It is barely a blip in a trend of a few tenths of a degree in 2000 years. In the century averages imagine what the 21st century looks like on that scale if it starts near 1 C warmer than the minimum and ends several degrees warmer. This puts projected climate change into context.

      • If you had bothered to read Steve McIntryes full post and the comments including by one of the Pages2k 2017 lead authors, you would know the answers to your two questions. Very intellectually lazy poor form you just displayed, Jim D.

      • Does he have his own reconstruction and, if so, where is it posted? If not, why not? What happened to the MWP? These are the questions I have. Answers welcome. Judith’s link gave no clues to these answers, and seemed to be just some bickering with reconstructions to include or not. Nothing about the potential effect of adding those, so what point was he making there? Add more trees? Throw out the trees and use the rest? Why is he only worried about North American trees that are a small fraction of the earth’s surface? Lots of questions.

      • “Answers welcome.”

        Corruption is the answer. The realization of such is illusive to those wearing opaque rose colored glasses, those who see nothing wrong with using only evidence that supports their bias and who will not acknowledge common sense methodology that discourages bias, It’s inconvenient.

      • If they don’t believe the uptick part in the last 150 years, I think they have some issues with thermometers. I never understood the resistance to the uptick part of reconstructions when that is the part we can verify with thermometers.

      • Curious George

        “[The MWP] is barely a blip in a trend of a few tenths of a degree in 2000 years.” You are too modest. Make it 17,000 years.

      • This missing MWP was the part of PAGES2k that McIntyre did not complain about, as far as I can tell.

      • Curious George

        Jim D, I don’t have my own climate model. Does it mean that I can’t point out an error in a basic physical quantity in a NCAR model?

      • If this is what you were talking about years ago, check if it is still there first. Plus, this would have been small compared to being a percentage point off on surface albedo for example, just based on energetics.

      • His version? Just nitpicking?
        Jim, so weird that you would say such things. The point being made is so simple.
        I guess I could never say it better than JimT on McIntyre’s site, so I’ll just quote him.

        “The basis for selection, obviously, was not whether trees exhibited a hockey stick shape or not; in cases where there are enough instrumental data, the criterion is whether they correlate well to that – too bad the temperature data show warming over the 20th century, I suppose.”

        This is the crux of the problem. You don’t actually know if these are actual “treemometers” … or if you just picked those series out of random noise that happen to match what you are looking for. The fact (or do you dispute it?) that a huge percentage of those trees you thought WERE “treemometers” just 4 years ago were not seems to strongly indicate that these series ARE just random noise.

        This is the very simple point that, from my reading on this subject over the years, is NEVER addressed. If you could do so here, you might actually convince someone.


      • Your alternative is to use those treemometers with a negative regression coefficient, i.e. upside down. Maybe that is the preferred solution if you want to keep them, but clearly they did not want to do that because that has also received criticism in the past. So what is the solution to keeping them when they don’t fit the independent validation data?

      • So what is the solution to keeping them when they don’t fit the independent validation data?

        Sigh…you are just talkin out of your a$$ all the time arent you Jim? Go read the McIntyre thread and then smack your forehead with your palm for asking this. I am done with you, and will ignore everything else you say from now on.

      • Everyone says go read McIntyre without giving any idea of what he says about the missing MWP or what to do with the treemometers that don’t fit thermometers. If McIntyre has his own reconstruction with substantially different results he should publish it. Unless it changes results, he doesn’t have a point to make. Has he demonstrated that? I am only asking for the benefit of others here who also don’t want to plow through his various writings on this over the years. Do us a service and summarize. It will save a lot of people a lot of wasted time. Otherwise they will just see what I wrote, and you don’t want that to stand, right?

      • Summarizing or answering your questions is a waste of peoples time. You only change the subject whenever people show what garbage the points you offer up are. Even someone with little interest in science can understand the concept of selecting only those data sets which support your preconceived notions. If they were financial advisors it would the the same as pointing out only the stocks that perform well and hiding all of the ones that are tanking. By your standard, that is completely ok. By those of the SEC, they constitute fraud.

        But if you haven’t recognized that about Pages2k after Gergis, then you are a true believer.

      • So far they haven’t answered what I asked. Why, if McIntyre thinks there is a better way, hasn’t he done that? He has all their data. What does he think about the disappearance of the MWP? His item at CA says nothing about that, and it used to be a big deal. Did he just give up on that? Just asking. People get angry at me for that.

      • JimD
        McIntyre is not in the business of writing papers, He knows the Climate community would redistribution no matter what. He considers himself an auditor. He may comb over it some more but he knows it won’t go any further than his blog. If his denizens pushed him maybe he would. You are simply avoiding the point: Did the paper cherry pick? Using McIntyre as a straw man is a waste of your own time. If you were really that interested in the answer you’d find out for yourself.

      • You only got his side of the argument. They will have reasons for not using trees that don’t even agree with thermometers. His argument is empty without anyone showing the impact of what he is saying. Perhaps skeptics have tried and found no effect, but they won’t report that, of course, because it is better to have negative comments hanging out there than having any replication effort that shows the same thing as the paper. Remember McIntyre’s trees only affect a small part of the total data. If it was such a big thing, someone would have done that test. Don’t they want to save the MWP? They’re giving up with a whimper. Get on them for that.

      • “Does he have his own reconstruction and, if so, where is it posted? If not, why not?”

        It is my understanding that the answers are “no” and “1) because it’s a lot of work and I don’t want to spend my time on it; 2) I’m not convinced it can be done with acceptable error bounds; 3) I don’t need to have my own in order to find fault with other attempts”

        All are reasonable on their own, IMO.

        1 is personal and therefore inarguable;
        2 is expert opinion, and while arguable, is certainly defendible;
        3 is trivially and obviously true.

        I would suggest you ask Steve himself for definitive reasons, the above is my opinion based on >10 years of reading his blog.

      • “His argument is empty without anyone showing the impact of what he is saying”

        Hardly. There is plenty in the (stats) lit-chur-chur regarding the distortions caused by ex post facto data selection (Steve’s main and long-term [>10 years!] complaint)
        Regardless of that, the fact that after 4 additional years of data the screening process “throws out” data that was previous “kept in” is concerning – either the screening process is highly questionable or it has changed so much that the papers in incomparable, or both. I would suggest both, but either or both also suggests that one or the other papers are in need of retraction, I would have thought. Not bad science, just shown (by the authors, no less!) to be, err, questionable and therefore marked as such so that they don’t get used inappropriately. Won’t happen though – my guess is one will be used as “support” for the other being “basically correct”. That’s how climate “science” works, doncha know?

      • If no one is taking up his argument and producing a reconstruction they don’t seem to be taking it seriously, and you can see why when he only complains about North American trees by the look of it, which is a small percentage of the global area. Not worth the effort if that’s all he has.

      • Also the Emile-Geay response is worth looking at. If McIntyre has found a way to get rid of the hockey stick, he needs to show his work. It’s not that easy.

    • For all the world it looks like they’ve started with the idea that proxies which best match the instrumental temperature record must be the best proxies. It appears that it never crossed their minds that those proxies which do not match cast doubt on the entire idea of treemometers.

      The “contribution” by the Pages person was hysterical. The claim that these hockey sticks were unbreakable was both comical and deeply disturbing at the same time.

      • Forrest: I too was astonished by the intemperate tone of the comments from Julien Emile-Geay on Stephen McIntyre’s critique. Even if Emile-Geay, who is the lead (or at least first-named) author on the list of around 100 authors of the PAGES 2K publication in question, had been unaware of McIntyre’s long track record of sober and penetrating reviews of proxy-based paleoclimate studies, could he not have found it possible to thank McIntyre for his contribution?

  8. Most scientists agree that California, like most places, will get warmer through the end of the century.

    97% consensus?

    And until now, most agreed California would get drier.

    Because… alarmism begets more alarmism?

    New research out of the University of California, Riverside, however, suggests otherwise.

    Wetter from rising seas?

    The new models predict the state will enjoy a 12 percent increase in precipitation totals through 2100.

    Realtors and homeowners everywhere, rejoice!

    • You know a paper is worthless when it predicts a 12% average change in 80 years to a climate variable known to vary by several hundred percent over the past 80 years. A complete loss of common sense perspective playing with models that do not regionally downscale. More pal review.

  9. Ulric Lyons

    NASA-MIT study evaluates efficiency of oceans as heat sink, atmospheric gases sponge:

    Seems to have overlooked the fact that during a warm AMO phase, CO2 uptake in the northern North Atlantic is greatly reduced, and then erroneously attributes a slow AMOC to ‘global warming’. Quote:

    “Adding heat to the ocean, in contrast, slows down the overturning circulation because ocean currents depend on temperature gradients – moving from warmer locations to cooler locations – that weaken under global warming as cooler waters heat up.”

    Increased forcing of the climate would increase positive NAO, which would speed up the AMOC.

  10. Re: new book
    “heat waves, hurricanes and droughts have increased, and could have been caused by processes including arctic amplification, jet stream meandering, and tropical expansion. “

    Not sure I’ll shell out for this one but have heat waves, tropical cyclones, or droughts actually increased? US heatwaves, global ace, and historical drought would argue against. And AA causation? AA reduces temperature variability and so heatwaves?
    Models don’t resolve hurricanes – what basis is there for any prediction?

    Similarly what basis is there for drought prediction? Didn’t the US Dust Bowl occur during lower global mean T?

  11. Ulric Lyons

    New paper connects volcanic cooling to crop failures, impoverishment, and hunger in 17th-century Finland:

    The 1601-02 and 1602-03 cold winters noted fell on exactly the same heliocentric Jovian configuration type as the extreme winters of 1963, 1784, and also the two times the River Nile is known to have frozen in the last 2000 years, in 829 and 1010 AD. The reason that some are 181 years apart rather than 179 years apart is because the orbits are not circular.
    I gather that some research shows that major tropical volcanic eruptions tend to cause cooler summers but milder winters for NW Europe.

    Quote from the article:
    “Moreover, volcanic forcing is known to explain temperature variance at annual to decadal timescales, whereas solar forcing explains the variance at interdecadal and longer timescales. Thus, although the low solar activity is likely to have contributed to the cooling conditions of the seventeenth century over the long time scale, the sudden drop in summer temperatures and resultant crop failure years across northern Eurasia resemble the signature of volcanic eruptions more than the signal of solar activity.”

    Arbitrary assumptions about the nature of solar forcings, and two volcanic events in 1673 and 1693 cannot hope to account for the bulk of the cooler summer periods through 1672-1705.

  12. “…large parts of the Southern Ocean….depicted a surface cooling since 1970s…”

    Very high SMB in Greenland

    NASA detects drop in Global Fires

    “…frequency of hail storms, thunderstorms, and high wind events has decreased by nearly 50% on average throughout China since 1960…”

    “Climate scientists now expect California to experience more rain in coming decades, contrary to predictions of previous climate models…” (they thought there would be less before they thought there would be more)

    Solar influence on Sea Level Trends found

    “…why the enhanced model fails to replicate an important trend during the 20 year stretch in the middle of the last century…”

    “The reconstruction shows a pronounced Medieval Climate Anomaly…” “The Medieval Warming was followed by a gradual cooling into the Little Ice Age…”

    “Statistical testing could not provide conclusive support of the contemporary warming to supersede the peak of the MCA in terms of the pan-Arctic mean summer temperatures.”

    The list of reasons for questioning the certainty of AGW just keeps getting longer. If I spent a few minutes more this list could be expanded greatly. Many of these occurrences, if the arguments for AGW are as airtight as portrayed by the establishment, should not be happening. Fires were supposed to be up. SMB in Greenland should be dropping. There is not supposed to be a MWP or LIA. ( I’m having trouble remembering if I have counted 206 or 207 citations of the MWP. If it doesn’t exist, then all those hundreds of authors who cited a non-event ought to be in deep doodoo.) Extreme weather in China should be going up.

    When will the evidence to support AGW start rolling in? If I were keeping score the skeptical side should be about to invoke the mercy rule, because the other side is getting whupped.

  13. Judith wrote: “There is virtually zero evidence that permafrost will catastrophically melt in our lifetimes. [link] …

    but the linked abstract also says the following. We emit enough CO2 to raise CO2 by 4 ppm/yr, but observed only an increase of about 2 ppm/yr. About half disappears into sinks on land and the other half goes into the ocean. If the estimate herein about the changes in permafrost by 2020 is correct (a big if), that alone will be enough to increase the annual accumulation rate to 2.4-2.9 ppm/yr (20-45% increase).

    We predict that the PCF will change the arctic from a carbon sink to a source after the mid-2020s and is strong enough to cancel 42–88% of the total global land sink. The thaw and decay of permafrost carbon is irreversible and accounting for the PCF will require larger reductions in fossil fuel emissions to reach a target atmospheric CO2 concentration.

  14. David Wojick

    Regarding “Contrary temperature trend stalls upgraded climate model’s debut [link]” this quote is interesting:
    “It is yet to be determined whether a fix to the aerosol emission data sets will remedy the problem…or whether the cloud-aerosol mechanisms in the model could be too strong.” Neale said. “Still, Lamarque added, working through such mismatches is a normal part of how climate models evolve…”

    So rather than change the model they can just change the data. Good to know. Maybe the pesky cooling the model shows actually happened. There is no reason to believe the global temperature guesses for mid 20th century.

  15. David Wojick

    Some interesting stuff about the surface temperature statistical models here: https://thsresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/ef-gast-data-research-report-062717.pdf

    Including “The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality.”

    This research is a fine example of the kind I have been calling for:
    Adjustments are item #5 in the list of serious uncertainties.

    What we really need is to estimate the size of the combined uncertainties and adjust the way global surface temperatures are reported accordingly. The research report does a nice job of qualitatively summarizing several of the deep uncertainties in the surface temperature statistical models. They say that ocean temperatures may be the biggest problem. What everyone seems to miss is that this data is just a convenience sample, which makes it very poor. I discuss this here:

    In short, looking at the adjustments is useful but the real problems lie elsewhere and are much larger.

    Also, they point out that the endangerment finding depends on assuming these questionable global surface temperature estimates are accurate. The reality is that most of climate science, especially the climate modeling, makes this assumption. Thus the scientific community may well be struggling to explain something that simply does not exist. Of course no one wants to accept this conclusion. What a mess!

  16. Criticism of wind and solar:
    “The Wall Street Journal ran an article earlier this week about low electricity prices in Texas, without realizing that this was a problem caused by wind energy, not a desirable result!”
    “Energy products are very different in “quality.” Intermittent electricity is of exceptionally low quality. The costs that intermittent electricity impose on the system need to be paid by someone else. This is a huge problem, especially as penetration levels start exceeding the 10 percent to 15…”
    “We need electricity products to be well-behaved (not act like drunk drivers) and low in cost, if they are to be successful in growing the economy. If we continue to add large amounts of intermittent electricity to the electric grid without paying attention to these problems, we run the risk of bringing the whole system down.”
    The question is, at what rate do we keep subsidizing wind and solar? Alternatives such as soil carbon restoration is starting to look better.

    • I know this will shock you but they have these amazing wind field forecast models that lets them plan for the peaks and valleys days in advance. I use custom solar insolation forecasts to schedule my own electrical loads.
      Here is the public ERCOT wind power forecast:
      Here you can watch the wind field for the whole country.
      IBM is doing some big renewable energy A.I. based forecasting but I don’t have any public links for their products.
      Everybody is waiting for that battery breakthrough. That will change the conversation. It just seems to me that the natural evolution of our grids will become less centralized and more like telecommunication networks. gridsmicrogridsnanogridsdevice. It’s what technology does.

      • Don’t hold your breath waiting on battery technology.
        Darpa and the Navy put hundreds of millions, if not billions on researching advanced battery technology. Were looking for non nuclear submarines.

      • Well that settles it then. If Darpa and the Navy can’t figure it out then it must be unpossible.
        You know science is not copyrighted and on balance if the US didn’t import foreign brainpower we would look a lot like Mexico but with more pets. If some foreign country did invent a breakthrough battery technology 99% of ‘real Americans’ couldn’t read the press release because it wasn’t in english and they would claim it’s fake news.
        So how did you like those crypto attacks the last few months? Pretty neat huh. They never wanted a ransom. They just want to do a little live fire practice. Should be exciting when it’s go time because the black hats have the all the backdoors our NSA/CIA secretly embedded in all our systems. Since 1997 all chip foundries (like Intel and AMD) have been required to put in special IDs and hidden instruction codes inside every CPU die. They claimed it was to prevent software piracy so they could authenticate the end user… yeah right. Freedom isn’t free ya know.
        Is all your data triple backed up? Mine is.

      • Enjoy your Hopium, Jack.

      • Jack,

        We operate the second largest amount of wind generation of any US utility. We just completed a large battery storage facility last fall. We are not adding any new wind generation and the battery facility is mostly a test site which wouldn’t have been built without major subsidies. Instead of talking theory, talk in real world practicality. Power density and cost issues have yet to be overcome. And while DARPA may not be the end all of scientific and engineering know how, they have one hell of a track record.

        The Navy gave up on electric propulsion for subs because the performance verse cost ratio could not compete with nuclear. I will concede that politics within the Navy played a big role, but the simple fact us the physics and chemistry issues have yet to see a breakthrough. Maybe flow through designs might lead to some incremental advances, but batteries are not the answer at current tech levels.

      • Just want to throw this out there:
        “China has outlined plans to become a world-leader in artificial intelligence by 2025…
        China released a national AI development plan late on Thursday, aiming to grow the country’s core AI industries to over 150 billion yuan ($22.15 billion) by 2020 and 400 billion yuan ($59.07 billion) by 2025, the State Council said.

        China has already invested heavily in AI, while Chinese Premier Li Keqiang named it as a strategic technology in an annual report earlier this year.

        In February, the country’s powerful state planner opened an AI lab in partnership with Baidu Inc, the country’s top search engine, which is making a major push in to AI.

        Lenovo’s Rui said official support for AI was because it was seen as the latest “industrial revolution” akin to the advent of the combustion engine, electricity or the Internet. ”

        You can’t put the genie back in the bottle and technology doesn’t have a reverse gear.

        “Science is a thought process, technology will change reality.”

      • As you already pointed out, Jack, investment in espionage has a bigger payout than investment in science. The Left invests in a social construct of our education system; policies such as those that embrace an “everyone is a winner” philosophy, no keeping score. The results speaks for itself, clearly, now the U.S. has to import real winners from other countries. I just hope we import a few who are as good at espionage as China.

      • Mop-Up-Crew,
        “investment in espionage has a bigger payout than investment in science”
        Our investment in cyber espionage via the NSA/CIA was stolen and used against us. We created hacker tools to hurt foreign governments and they used it against us.

        It’s not just A.I.. They also have the world’s most powerful super computers. They are already using CRISPR/cass9 and Gene Drive genetic engineering on humans. Using gene drive technology will enable the genetic modifications to be inherited by their children. Meanwhile our Republicans push Intelligent Design and try to debunk evolution in our schools.

      • You say “No”, then describe how espionage activities was stolen and used against us. Okay.

        Regardless what I think of creationism, you believe those who have always pushed for a creationism component to education have caused irreparable harm to our education system when there’s no evidence it has harmed U.S. science capacity on a holistic level, historically, not ever. However; the non competitive philosophy, the weakening of discipline, how students can and are treated, pampered; all these and more, philosophies pushed by the left into the education system has demonstrated a result of a systemic weakness in the intellectual capacity and competitiveness of students ho are graduating. It’s unequivocal this is one of the root causes for weakness in our education system and why we’re importing intellect.


      • Re Mop-up-Crew comment ‘philosophies pushed by the left
        into the education system ,’ as with advocacy-survey by
        AMS.GMU 2017, described in previous post, (and who can
        forget Lew’s recursive fury ?) Gramski- creep through
        the institutions is pervasive in education in the US and Oz.
        Ref research essays at Serfs Invisible Collar blog.

      • Wonderful essay, Beth, thanks for sharing. It doesn’t bode well for society when philosophical indoctrination IS the primary goal of education.

      • Thx, Mop-Up-Crew, and no it don’t bode well.
        How ter bell the (indoctrination) cat?

  17. Solar might help.
    This occurred to me. Home solar and home batteries in Minnesota. During the Winter what sun is available charges their batteries. The house has natural gas heat. Each night the batteries are drawn on for heat. This saves natural gas. This draw could coincide with the peak gas demand for the night.
    In the Summer, the batteries are charged during the day and used at peak demand to run the home’s A/C. This is actually an improvement from the grids perspective, as the homeowner is helping to meet the peak demand.
    By placing some responsibility on home generation to help with peak demands they are carrying more of their share. Capitalism is about voluntary exchanges. You don’t have to buy from someone. But people argue utilities do. If you make that argument, don’t talk about a free market. Talk about giving commands.
    During Spring and Fall I am suggesting in Minnesota you don’t have these peak demands. Selling to the grid by home solar is not going to stress it as much.
    If people want to go down the home solar path, carry your load. Be responsible. Be more of a capitalist. You’ll sleep better.

  18. Solve the problem:

  19. Uncovering the Hidden Secrets of Water Vapor
    «There is much untapped potential in the use of water vapor isotopic measurements and modeling to learn about current processes in the atmosphere, as well as assessing past atmospheric circulation patterns and storm paths.»

    Is there? How do they know that without having tapped into that potential?

    «We are optimistic that the analysis of water vapor isotopic composition can help reduce some of the uncertainties in projections of future greenhouse warming.»

    Scientists are always optimistic about their current project – why would they else be doing it?

    «In order to understand the processes that set the isotopic composition of snow falling in Greenland several thousand years ago, for example, we need to understand the full suite of processes that brought that snow there. This means understanding the history of how water vapor circulated through the atmosphere and the processes that influenced the airmasses as they traveled to Greenland.»

    If they are optimistic about understanding that – they are truly optimistic.

    «The study of modern water vapor isotopic composition provides important context for thinking about ancient records, and these can also inform our studies of the computer models that simulate climates of the past.»

    Pure inductivism. A present context provides no information about ancient context.

    «Our review identified several unresolved issues where there is scope for further scientific work.»

    Ahaaa – suddenly I get it! A commercial for funding. Silly me – why didn’t´t I catch it before?

    «First, some of the most significant uncertainties in projections of future greenhouse warming are due to the complex roles that clouds play in Earth’s climate. The processes that control cloud formation are, to a great extent, the same processes that set the isotopic composition of water vapor, so expanded observational campaigns in marine low-cloud settings and in the upper troposphere may ultimately help us to better understand—and hopefully reduce—some of these key uncertainties about future climate change.»

    It is obvious now – isn´t it?

    «These measurements will also help us to better understand what climate models are telling us about future changes in cloud formation and their related impacts on climate.»

    So the measurements will help us to understand what climate models are telling us!
    Come on – they really got science backwards – didn’t´t they?

    «The studies that have been done are exciting and suggest that we may be able to use these measurements to better understand the relative roles of ocean temperatures and humidity in governing evaporation from the oceans, and for improving our understanding of ice formation over Antarctica and Greenland, with important implications for constraining past climate variability in those regions.


    «More than 99% of the water on Earth is the familiar H2O.»

    So, variation in the remaining 1 % of H2O is supposed to improve the understanding of ice formation over Antarctica and Greenland! This looks like pure crapola to me.

    «Because they require very high precision, these measurements will be very difficult to obtain, but many of us think this is a particularly exciting research challenge.»

    So they just want to satisfy their needs for excitement. In todays climate, I guess they will get the funding just as they desire.

    • Yes, I was thinking of linking this. Worth a read. One line from it
      “As much fun as it sounds, coal mining isn’t really that great of a job.”.
      Skeptics are very interested in what Bill Nye has to say.

  20. Judith,

    I hope you will soon do a Week In review – Economic Impacts of GW Edition

  21. The new astrology
    By fetishising mathematical models, economists turned economics into a highly paid pseudoscience

    Nonetheless, surveys indicate that economists see their discipline as ‘the most scientific of the social sciences’. What is the basis of this collective faith, shared by universities, presidents and billionaires? Shouldn’t successful and powerful people be the first to spot the exaggerated worth of a discipline, and the least likely to pay for it?

    Charles A. S. Hall discusses the faults of the Dismal Science

    “Economics is not a science because it doesn’t use the scientific method”
    “ Don’t tell me dollars. Tell me energy. Because Dollars are only a lien on energy. That’s all they are”
    “Encourage us not to teach fairytales in economics classes. We teach a million young people fairytales in our Economics classes”
    “I had a wonderful talk at our biophysical economics meeting last week. And the speaker was an historian. He said the discovery of the 2nd law of thermodynamics absolutely transformed chemistry first, then physics, then all of the.. geology.. all of the sciences.. ecology.. Except one.. Economics. ”

  22. People might find the following post at my blog of some interest. My apologies in advance for the cynicism in the title.

    Pro Tip: Tin-Foil Hat Alarmists Tilt Your Heads 21 Degrees to the Left!!

  23. This study seems to say aerosol emissions over Europe between 1990-2015 had about 6 times bigger climate forcing than global CO2 emissions (+4.0 W/m2 vs +0.66 W/m2). https://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/17/2709/2017/acp-17-2709-2017.pdf

    Did I get it right? Shouldn’t this have a huge relevance for e.g. attribution studies? Mediterranean droughts? Heat waves? Greenhouse gases are often seen as the main culprit but if we theoretically get 5/6th of the warming even with 100% GHG emission reductions in this period, then isn’t that a bit misguided.

    • Though locally large over Europe, their global average is 0.17 W/m2, so it is still only a quarter of the CO2 forcing. This value seems to cancel with the decline by solar and volcanic forcing over that period.

      • Maybe regional forcings could still affect local impacts like droughts and heat waves. If greenhouse gases are a “major factor” in increasing European droughts, then it wouldn’t seem impossible to me that a direct warming effect six times that of CO2 could also play some kind of role.

        In addition to warming, new studies suggest that some regional rainfall declines in recent decades have been driven by aerosol changes, overcoming the opposite GHG effect.

      • Local warming is more likely to affect downstream (east) because the air flows through it. The largest trends in this period appear to be to the east of this warming region that have warmed 1 C in this period. I don’t know if it is because of the aerosol reductions in western Europe. On the upside, it helps solar energy in Europe to have clearer skies.

  24. US utilities abandon construction of two large reactors

    South Carolina Electricity & Gas (a SCANA subsidiary) and Santee Cooper in 2008 committed to building a pair of Westinghouse AP1000 reactors at the VC Summer nuclear power plant in South Carolina at a total expected cost of $9.8 billion. With the project two thirds complete and more than that sum spent, they decided to abandon construction at the end of July and have applied to the state Public Services Commission to permit this. SCEG seeks to recover from ratepayers about $4.9 billion it has spent.

    There are several reasons which together have contributed. Westinghouse was originally the technology vendor, but effectively became also the main contractor. As costs escalated towards $20 billion, it declared bankruptcy, and opted out with payment of $2.168 billion in compensation. Completing the units would cost very much more than that. The cost increases are due to significant design changes required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after commencement and inefficient project management, coupled with uncertain availability of $18/MWh production tax credits amounting to $300 million per year (due to slow progress) and no carbon emission price in prospect. In addition, natural gas prices are about 30% of those in 2008, making nuclear less competitive now.

    The head of the US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said Santee Cooper and SCE&G’s decisions were disappointing, but applauded the two companies for their “valiant and visionary” efforts to embark on a new US nuclear construction program for the first time in over 30 years. “As a first-of-a-kind nuclear construction project of this size and scope, the project understandably encountered many economic, regulatory and other challenges along the way. SCE&G and Santee Cooper, however, have always managed those challenges impressively.”

    The South Carolina economy will feel the negative impact of losing over five thousand jobs, many of them high-paying and long-term ones. The hitherto very positive image of the AP1000 technology will be diminished, though the likely start-up of two AP1000 units in China by the end of the year will counter that. In the USA, the industry hopes of revival with new-generation plants now hangs on the two Vogtle AP1000s under construction in Georgia. That project is subject to the same main challenges, but with significant differences in commercial terms which give it a better chance of proceeding. However, Georgia Power with the plant’s other owners and the state Public Services Commission have yet to decide on Vogtle’s future.
    WNN 1/8/17. USA Nuclear Power”
    WNA Weekly Digest: http://mailchi.mp/world-nuclear-news/wna-weekly-digest-28-july-4-august-2017